Monday, July 23, 2007

No One to Turn for Help in Case of Abused Child

Sunday, July 22nd 2007

A mother who alleges that her now 16-year-old daughter was influenced to begin an intimate relationship with an older woman more than a year ago is calling on the authorities to investigate what she said is a case of sexual abuse.

The woman said the relationship between her daughter and the older woman started out innocently and continued that way for some time before certain things started happening that caused her to question the nature of the association. According to her, many of the things were distressing and forced her to take action against the older woman.

She said the woman was an educator at a reputable institution and her daughter who attends a city school met her through another educator. Within days of the introduction, she said, the woman became a frequent visitor to her home and presented herself as a mentor to the child. It was for that reason, she said, the girl was allowed to spend time away from the home for long hours with the woman.

Sunday Stabroek contacted the institution and was informed by its head that the educator was no longer employed there. The head declined to say anything on the issue but confirmed that the matter had engaged the institution's attention.

"I can only say that the woman is no longer here and that we were unable to do anything in relation to the case because the young girl in question was not a student at this institution," the head stated.

In a recent interview, the mother who said she had nowhere left to turn but to the media, revealed that the educator had been charged with assaulting her during a confrontation. She said when her daughter did not return home after lessons one day, she began searching for her, and found her standing on the road with the older woman.

According to her, it was hard to stay calm on seeing them together and she challenged the woman verbally, which led to her being physically assaulted.

Before the assault, the mother said, she had visited every authority possible for help and was turned away. The police did not know what to charge the woman with; a welfare officer had no solutions while friends and family urged her to pray.

It was in December 2006, she said, that she realized that the woman was involved in a physically intimate relationship with her daughter. The mother produced a stack of love letters, postcards and poems the woman wrote to her daughter professing deep feelings. She said the letters started coming through the mail in September 2006, but the girl would only say that a friend was sending them. She tried, but could not get the girl to say who the friend was.

"I wanted to know more than anything who was sending the letters because the language was very deep and the thoughts were well crafted. I had trouble believing it was a boy her age but she would not tell me who it was until I found a signed letter with the woman's name on it," the mother said.

The family was celebrating Christmas at the time, but that revelation brought everything to an abrupt halt, according to her. She said a complaint was immediately lodged at a police station in the area since the girl was below the age of consent and was still a minor. But the police turned her away saying they were not in a position to do anything.

The woman said she showed them the box full of information she had that clearly established the nature of the relationship between her daughter and the woman, to no avail.

She said she allowed the Christmas season festivities to pass and visited a welfare officer in January 2006 to complain about the woman since she had stopped her daughter from communicating with her but they were still in touch. She said the welfare officer also offered no assistance and asked her to try other places. She then went back the police but got the same response.

The woman said she then visited the institution where the woman worked and complained to her superiors. Though they listened to her and empathised, she said, they also could do nothing and she left not knowing what to do.

According to her, it became very clear after a while that she was going to have to protect her daughter on her own, so she sent the woman a lawyer's letter instructing her to stay away from her child. The woman responded by a lawyer's letter also, in which she denied having a relationship with the girl and stating that she had already withdrawn from the girl's company. Her lawyer's letter instructed the mother to talk to her daughter and to get the child to stay away from her.

But the relationship continued. The mother said her daughter went home late one night and the woman was with her. When she confronted her about still hanging around the girl, she said, the woman verbally abused her.

"She told me that my daughter was going to turn 16 very soon and that she would be able to consent to a relationship regardless of whether I agreed to it or not. That woman looked me in my face and said that. I chased her from my home but she left laughing," the mother related.

What happened next was something she said the family did not see coming. On her sixteenth birthday, the girl stayed out all night. She said when her daughter returned home the next day, she offered no explanation as to where and with whom she had been. She said the girl spent two more nights away from home shortly after that and when she confronted her about it, the child said that she had to work out a few things with the older woman.

The mother said her daughter opened up about how the relationship was stressing her out and said that she had to clear up a few things. According to her, the girl seemed ready to move on with her life, but not long after she went missing from home. She said she got a call one night from the woman urging her to go and pick up the girl at a bus park. The whole family turned up and found the child waiting.

The mother said her daughter was clearly taken advantage of by someone who was supposed to have been a trusted elder and according to her that amounted to sexual abuse. She said no one else seems to think so, because most of the people she went to with her complaints told her there was no law under which the woman could be charged.

She said the authorities should investigate the matter because there might be other young girls out there being preyed upon by older women.

"I never would have thought that my child would have been molested by another woman. You think of men and you warn your girls about older men and older boys but there are other predators out there and they wear skirts and dresses," she said.

The mother said her daughter used to perform well at school but since meeting the woman her grades had dropped. She added that no mother should have to go through what she had endured so far and felt that if people out there knew what happened in her family they might be more aware of what is happening in the society.

She said that as a parent, she was hurting and deeply upset and as a mother, she felt "lost, lonely and defeated." She pointed out though that her husband had been at her side and had been very supportive, in addition to an older son.


The numbers of victims of abuse are swelling daily, unfortunately we live in a society that protects the predators and not the victims, I am sorry there was nothing you could do outside of taking the law into your own hands to protect your daughter.

Your child who has lost her innocence and will neve be the same, your family will never be the same , we all share the same frustration with you, the pain and also the shoulder shrugs that you received from the people who are supposed to protect you.

We all have lost mothers, fathers, children to perpetrators who in your own words have left "she left laughing," .

The words of Indigo Star, a victim of abuse when she wrote in the post under the header Our Legal System - A Victim's Perspective - come to mind.

"The perpetrator then gets the added thrill of hearing this grueling and
terrifying testimony of how deeply they have harmed someone and rather than
instilling remorse, it gives them a sick sense of power and satisfaction. Many
choose to challenge it as a further way of tormenting and terrorizing their

We will not be silenced the whole world will know how we treat our children, our elderly our infirm, maybe one day our leaders will be shamed into action and others will be spared the grief that you and I and so many others who have lost loved ones to indifference, indolence and negligence feel.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story of your daughter and the intimate relationship she had with this woman. This is extremely inappropriate what this woman did and I do hope she gets registered as a sex offender and out of the education system where her prey is easy to get. I have a similar story and am waiting for justice. Thank you for what you spoke here.